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[personal profile] rowyn
Health/Fitness
[Content note: I actually talk about weight and calories and such in this one.]

This year, my health insurer started paying for a weight loss program called "RealAppeal".

I am, on the one hand, not much interested in weight loss anymore. Years ago, one of my friends described me as "smokin' hot", and whenever I think about my appearance, this is the line that comes to mind. It's a valuation that has become independent of objective reality in my head. "Everyone who I would be interested in already finds me attractive. My weight is irrelevant."

Beyond that, weight as a measure of overall fitness is highly suspect. I have been exercising regularly for about 15 years now, while generally gaining a few pounds a year. I am fitter now than I was when I was 60 pounds lighter back in the late 90s. Medical professionals tend to blame everything on "patient is overweight", and the accordingly lowered standard of care fat people get may contribute more to poor health outcomes for them than any actual weight-related issues.

On the other hand, my diet is terrible. I don't mean "I eat too much", I mean "I survive mostly on sugar and fat." And my health insurance company is not paying for this program out of charity or kindness. They are a business; they would not pay for RealAppeal if they did not believe, based on evidence, that RealAppeal would improve the insurer's bottom line by improving the health of their customers. (My insurer may well be wrong about this! They're run by humans with the same biases as all other humans. But they are definitely not doing it because they think I'd be pretty if I just lost a few pounds.)

So I signed up for it -- it's free, I can always quit, why not?

The emphasis on weight loss is just as annoying as I thought it would be. I feel like RealAppeal is negging me: "take a picture of yourself now so you can see how much better you look after losing weight!"

I am SMOKIN' HOT RIGHT NOW, RealAppeal, and nothing you or a camera says will change that.

SMOKIN' HOT.

However! Despite this, I actually like the program so far.

It has weekly online classes, which I thought was going to be super annoying ("ugh, stuck in front of a computer watching a video for 45 minutes?") But their mobile app can play the online classes, so I go for a walk while I watch/listen to the class. The classes are with the same people and the same coach every week (you are encouraged to stick with your time slot, although you can take a make-up class if you miss one). My coach, Cass, is adorable, fun to listen to, and very relatable. She has struggled with bad eating habits too. She was talking about one of the tactics for staying on track -- "write down your motivation somewhere that you'll see it" -- and that the motivation can be very personal. Hers had been a note on her fridge: "Are you hungry? :)" And I thought that was great: at once an invitation to eat if you ARE hungry, and a gentle reminder that if you're not hungry maybe food is not the fix for whatever problem you do have.

You can also schedule 1-on-1 time with your coach if you want to discuss specific issues or just for bonding. I am a big believer in the power of bonding to promote good habits, so I feel like the existence of a coach who is invested in me eating well and exercising is useful by itself.

The site has a tracker, which is much less annoying to use than the last few times I tried food trackers. With the exception of meals from restaurants that aren't chains, it's had all the food I eat already in it. Generally, I can just type part of a name, pick what I had off a picklist, and set the portion size, and I'm done.

Moreover, I love having data and graphs and charts, so it's something I get a kick out of having done.

So I've been tracking what I eat for a couple of weeks. I already tracked exercise through Google Fit. Tracking leads to me eating a little less junk food: there is the act of thinking "do I actually want this or am I just eating it out of habit?" which leads to the occasional "yeah, I don't actually want this" in response.

The program lets you set your own targets, and the competing information is deeply amusing to me.

Video on calorie targets: "Women should set a target between 1200-1500 depending on how active you are!"

Me: "Nopenopenope" *nopetopuses on out of here*

Website, looking at my specific height/weight/exercise levels: "How's 2000-2200 calories sound?"

Me: "Okay that's fine."

I guess the "guideline" targets are aimed at the "I need to see VISIBLE RESULTS IMMEDIATELY or I will give up." But the last time I set calorie targets like that, I (a) soon hated tracking (b) also having to think about what I was eating all the time and (c) didn't lose weight anyway.

So I set my calorie target at 2000, in case I get lazier about exercise, and told the site I wanted to lose 0.25 pounds a week (the smallest number it allows).

In general, I've been either walking or dancing every day for 45-60 minutes, and eating between 1600-1900 calories. I have chosen not to eat food that I would have otherwise had, because it would put me over my target. Like yesterday I got a "pick two" and a frozen mocha from Panera, and then realized this is Too Much Food, so I took the soup and roll home as leftovers instead of eating them.

I have not, at any point, thought "I'm hungry and this takes too much willpower."

I've lost three pounds, much to my surprise. I'm not sure how that happened? This may just be the initial "oh it's a diet you're allowed to lose a couple pounds" before my body adjusts to the new normal and stops losing weight.

But since my actual goal is "exercise and eat better": as long as those things are happening, I don't care about the scale. 95% of why I am weighing myself is that the program asks me to, and since I don't care, I might as well make them happy.

Oh, for anyone curious: I started at 183 lbs and am currently 180 lbs.

Writing
I finished the initial draft of The Twilight Etherium! My belief that "the second half will be shorter" was way more accurate than I thought it would be. First half: 74,400 words. Second half: 28,500. Total word count: 102,900.

So the book ended up right in the 100-120k range, same as the other Etherium books. AW YEAH. I am pleased. Also glad to have the first draft done. And also thinking next book I will try to estimate word count per bullet point instead of "eh, historically each bullet point is around 1500ish words" because while that was still right ON AVERAGE, it was wackily far off when it came to estimating how much book was left on this one.

The Business of Writing
NEW BOOK RELEASE WOOOO! Frost and Desire is now out in the wild. I love this book, y'all. ❤️

I also did some more revisions on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. I crossed of another 12 items on the planned changes list. 23 more to go!

Gaming
As predicted last month, Pokemon Go play remains way down. I'm still level 38. I will probably make 39 sometime in February; I have one last friend who regularly opens gifts to get to Best Friends status, and that'll pretty much push me over. But I suspect I won't make level 40 until late this year, assuming I don't just quit entirely. On the other hand, spring and summer weather may make playing more appealing.

Happiness
I was pretty glum for a week or so this month, but my mood turned around a couple of weeks ago and I've been upbeat since then. It's nice.

Report Card for January Goals
* Care for Lut: yup, did that
* Finish 17 more bullet points on The Twilight Etherium: finished 37 points and the whole draft. CRUSHED IT.
* And/or finish 17 bullet points on the editing list for The Princess, Her Dragon and Their Prince, or some combination of these two: only did 12, but this was an "in combination with the above" so this is all gravy.
* Release Frost and Desire: done!
* Spend 15 hours reading stuff that I didn't write. Books, graphic novels, blog posts, articles, and short stories all count. Twitter, Discord, and Tootplanet do not. Lol nope. I caught up on my Dreamwidth feed, which is nice, and I tried reading some books without making much progress. But I didn't even try to track my time spent reading and I'm confident it didn't make it to half an hour a day. This should be easy. I don't know why it isn't anymore. MEH.

Goals for February
* Care for Lut
* Finish revisions on Princess and send to first readers
* Think about next book(s)

I haven't solidified what I'm writing next yet. I am most inclined to write an EXTREMELY QUEER prequel to The Moon Etherium, but since I don't have a solid concept for it yet, I'm not committed. I am farther along on my year's work than I expected to be at this point, so I'm not concerned, either.
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